Martin Carrier, head of the Canadian video game lobby group Alliance Numérique, says that cuts to tax credits and incentives for the video games industry in Quebec will likely drive companies away from the region to Ontario, The United States, or even Europe.
Finance Minister Carlos Leitão announced earlier this month that cut tax credits to the Quebec video game industry would be cut by 20 percent. The cuts are part of the June 4 budget. The cuts are part of a plan by the government to reduce their province's deficits. Carrier, who is also the vice president of Warner Bros. Games Montreal, said the loss of the tax credits could lead to a game development exodus.
"You have to understand that there are other [funding] programs in other territories of the world, whether it's England, for instance, in Louisiana, or even in Ontario, which have programs that are more generous than here," Carrier said to reporters. "… Jobs will be created elsewhere. We want to keep creating jobs here, adding to the 9,000 jobs already [in Quebec], so it's important to keep supporting companies."
The tax credit cuts will apply to all game studios in the region, though major players in the Canadian games industry like Ubisoft and Warner Bros. will be spared until at least 2019 because of agreements the companies signed with previous governments.
Government tax credits in the region have fueled growth of the games industry in Quebec. Studios in the region include Ubisoft Montreal, Warner Bros. Games Montreal, BioWare Montreal, EA Montreal, Funcom, Gameloft, and others.
The tax credit reductions and other measures are expected to cut government spending by $CAD348 million by 2015-2016.
Carrier told the press he will make his case for keeping those tax credits before a parliamentary commission in Quebec City later this year.